About Jesus      Steve Sweetman

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Do Animals Have A Soul?


From time to time people have asked me if animals have a soul, or if animals will be in heaven.  Many pet owners wonder if theyíll see their pets in the next life.  Concerning pets having a soul, Iím yet to be convinced if humans have a soul. We either have a soul or we are a soul.  There is a difference between the two. And concerning heaven, according to the book of Revelation, we'll spend eternity on the new earth, not in heaven.  Here's the question we should ask.   ďAre animals a living soul, spiritual and eternal, as I believe humans are?Ē  If animals are living souls, then physical death is not the end of an animal, as itís not the end of humans.   

In Genesis 2:7 we learn that God created man from the dust of the earth.  Despite the common consensus that my distant ancestors must have been monkeys, the Genesis account states otherwise.  After forming a lump of earth into a shape resembling a man, God breathed into the lump of dirt and it became a living soul (KJV), or a living being (NIV).  I suggest that when God breathed into that lump of dirt, He breathed something of Himself  into it, making man a living soul, becoming both spiritual and eternal.  So are animals like man in this respect?  Are they living souls?  Are they  spiritual and eternal too?

Genesis 1:30 and 7:15 tells us that the breath of life is also found in animals, although we have no written account of God breathing into every animal as He did with man.  Therefore, it would seem logical to me that if the breath of life which came from God made man a living soul, the same breath of life would make animals a living soul.  That's only my logic.  It may not be yours.

So I suggest that when God breathed into animals, they became a living soul, both spiritual and eternal, just like man.  Iím not reducing man to an animal, although at times we're probably not much different.  Iím just elevating animals to a higher state of being than we might have previously thought.      

When I use the word "spiritual" in connection with animals, I'm suggesting that animals have the instinctive  capability of communicating with God in some way.  I suggest this because in the flood account of Genesis 6 they instinctively left their abodes to find Noah so he could put them in the ark.  I believe God told the animals to find Noah, and if that is true, then the animals somehow understood God's will.  I'd suggest this to be somewhat spiritual.  Romans 8:20, which I'll comment on later,  seems to confirm this as well.      

Genesis 1:26 tells us that God made man in His likeness and image.  Likeness means that we are in some ways similar to God.  Image means that in some ways we are a shadow of God.  Scripture does not say that animals were created in God's likeness and image, even though they have the breath of life in them like man.  That's what makes animals different from us.  They're less God-like than us.  

In Genesis 9:5 God said that He would demand an accounting from every man and every animal who takes the life of a human.  I therefore suggest that this accounting has something to do with animals being a living soul, and being able to respond to God.  Shedding the blood of one who is made in God's likeness and image is unthinkable in God's eyes.  He will judge both man and animals for this sin.  As far fetched as it sounds, it looks like animals will stand before God and give account of themselves to Him.  I'm not sure what that looks like, but the text says it will happen, so I have to believe the text.    

God covenanted with Himself in Genesis 9 not to flood the earth again.  God did not make this covenant for man's sake only.  The text says that He made it for all of creation, including animals.  Animals are clearly important to God, as is all creation, to the extent that He included them in this covenant.     

I believe Romans 8:20 speaks to this issue as well.  It reads, ďthe creation was subject to frustration, not by its own choice, but by the will of the one who subjected it, in  hope that the creation itself will be liberated from the bondage to decay and brought into the glorious freedom of the children of God.Ē   Paul is telling us that all creation is subject to the bondage of decay and death, and that includes animals. Man isn't the only one subject to such bondage.  So animals, along with the rest of creation are eagerly waiting the day when they will be liberated from decay and death.  When the saints of God find ultimate salvation at the return of Christ, animals will find the same salvation, or so it appears to me.

Jesus didnít die for animals.  Animals didnít sin, although some might argue that point in connection with the serpent.  Jesus died for human beings because we who were created in God's image tarnished that image with sin.  God, through Jesus, provided the way to remove this tarnished image and restore us to His original likeness and image.  When this is finally realized in its totality, all creation will be liberated from decay and death.  As Phil Keaggy once sang, ďwhat a day that will be.Ē  All of God's redeemed will be singing along with Phil Keaggy on that day, and that might include our pets as well.  You never know, maybe even the rocks and stones will cry out in praise to God as well, since Jesus suggested that could be  possible (Luke 19:40).  Who knows, trees might join the rocks and stones in this song of praises too, as seen in Isaiah 55:12. 

At this point in time, I think animals will be with us throughout eternity, and that would include our pets.  It sure would be nice if Iím right on this point.  Iíve only had one pet in my life of 58 years, and heís a cute little bichon dog named Jesse.  Click the following link to see his picture wearing my blues hat.  You won't see a cuter little guy than Jesse.



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